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Build On Trust And Reduce Fear

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The cornerstone of marketing today is a relationship built on trust.

That trust can be based on incredible customer focus and strong partner relationships. The approach of building trust use to be different for larger companies than smaller ones. But social media and mobile connectivity has changed the playing field for everyone and now, building trusting relationship whether you are a B to C or B to B is based on connection with people on a personal level. I would like to share with you some key steps you can take to help build a trusting brand with any consumer.

Social media encourages us to amass the largest followings, but building a smart writing business isn’t about collecting the most people. It’s about connecting with the most.

Connecting with contacts turns you from simply a name on a friends list or mailing list, to a relationship. And it’s the relationship that actually makes things happen. Relationships mean help requests get answered, favors get performed, and partnerships come together.

It is important to incorporate writing, blogging, and other content production into your marketing portfolio to foster conversation which will help you grow your business. Relationships multiply your efforts because they mean you can enlist the help and support of others who also want to see you succeed.

So how do you turn contacts into connections that become relationships?

1. Be authentic

It’s tempting to try to hide who you really are in some vain attempt to pretend to be someone else or blend in so you don’t upset anyone. But hiding who you are doesn’t do much for making you stand out to your contacts, in the long run. Try this instead. Go for authenticity. Share who you really are in your social media updates, blog posts, and other marketing activities. This doesn’t mean you have to tell everyone about that embarrassing thing you did in grade school. But it does mean speaking in your voice when you communicate, and not in some watered down attempt at pretending to be someone else. Your company has a “voice” a “personality.” Use it – show it and allow people to connect with it.

Your authenticity will resonate with your contacts and make them remember you. And those who truly identify with your message — what you are actually saying, the story you are telling, and the way you tell it — will connect with you. They will respond to your emails, re-tweet your posts, visit your blog. They will come back again and again. Looking for you.

And brings us to …

2. Tell a story

What makes your business different from the next one?

It’s the story. What is your story? What’s the story of your business?

Examine your story and see how it can connect you to your audience. Did you start this business because of a particular cause or experience? Do you have a specific service or product that is very unique or that helps others?

Telling your story may be about sharing your hopes, goals, and dreams in the context of your business. Sometimes this can be shared in the About page of your company’s website. Sometimes it can be shared in a blog post. Oftentimes, it is shared in a variety of ways — your blog posts, your speaking, your creative projects and social media.

Make your business about more than the product or service. Make it about the story.

Tell a compelling story, and you’ll have clients and vendors who identify with what you say, maybe because they have had a similar experience or believe in your vision and approach to business. Your shared experience will be the basis of your relationship. In some instances, that connection can be so strong that your readers will seek to become ambassadors or advocates for you, telling their friends, family, and contacts about you and your company because they identify so strongly.

3. Help others before you need help

If you are a business looking to grow then why not help others do the same? Are there other businesses or vendors in your community, on your friends list, or on your mailing list who need help?

If you see someone tweet a question and you have the answer, then reply with the answer. Or if you see another business on social media working to promote their services, then why not lend a hand? Re-tweet the link to your followers or share a post on Facebook.

Your generosity will likely be noticed. This business will see the way you’ve extended yourself to help and may drop you a thank you note or re-tweet. This exchange can be the beginning of a new relationship. I’ve become friends with business owners that I’ve not actually met in person. All because one of us reached out to help the other.

Maybe you two decide to do cross promotion, where you each share with your customers or community news about the other. Or maybe you two decide to team up for some other effort that can help both of you. When you turn a person from a contact into a connection, you open the possibility of a relationship as you two get more familiar with and trusting of each other.

Whether you have a large social media following or a small one, you can use these tips to build a more intimate connection with those who follow you, or those you follow. A few, deep connections that turn into relationships can help you grow your business.

A Systematic Approach

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In traditional forms of business networking you attend an event and collected the names of people you feel would be a potential asset to your company. You get their card, make some quick small talk and once you get back to your office you enter them into your CRM and never contact them again.  78% of all business people go through this same process. So how do you turn these potential business contacts into real leads or relationships?

Begin by identifying common links and themes to each and everyone in your database.

When you consider your database – cleanliness is definitely next to godliness. If your contacts are moth-eaten, out of date, choked and surrounded by dead wood, there’s no way you’ll be able to optimize their worth.

The information you should be aiming to record on your business connections includes:

  • The contact’s name, address, telephone number, fax and email and job title
  • Their company name
  • The source of the original meeting, venue or person
  • Who introduced you
  • A record of what transpired at the first meeting
  • The arrangement for follow-up – timing/method
  • Any personal details – birthday/family/hobbies and interests
  • Geographical details – the area of country if you are visiting them
  • Background – them/their company/previous positions held
  • Their and your aims and objectives, links and mutual acquaintances.

A Systematic Approach

When you have a systematic approach to keeping your contacts list neat, clean and tidy, you’ll use it more often and effectively. Self-discipline and orderly procedures make it a valuable accessory.

Set up a monthly reminder note to contact anyone you haven’t seen or spoken to in the last six to eight weeks. They will appreciate you keeping in touch. A friendly inquiry as to how they are may be all that’s required. Many people will be amazed that you’ve rung them without any particular reason or ulterior motive attached.

Developing connections with like-minded people with whom you can do business, either now or in the future, is the aim. One of the best ways that works is to try to help them as much as they can help you.

Building a Competitor Profile

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Sooner or later, somebody in your company will ask you to build a company profile. Where to start ? This article will outline the steps in building a good customer profile and the questions you should ask yourself:

What is this profile for? What should be included? What format is most appropriate? What sources can I use? What do I do next ?

First, you need to understand why the profile is needed. Too often, one builds a company profile that then stays in your files and that none ever looks at.

First question you should ask when asked for a profile is: “What decision needs to be made that will require this profile?”

Two cases can happen:

First, no immediate decision needs to be made, the profile is just for “reference”. In this case, run away and try as best as you can to postpone building the profile. This is exactly the case where the profile is likely to sit in the files, will take a lot of time to be built, and then even more time to get updated, but is actually not serving a real purpose.

A clear decision can be found where the profile will be needed, and then you have indications as to the type of profile you need.

What should be included ?

Profiles can take various shapes and forms depending on the decision that needs to be made.

These are a few examples of the elements to include in a company profile based on the type of decision that needs to be made:

To help senior management prepare for a field trip                 

  • Last news about the company (useful for chatting as an introduction)
  • Profile of the people who will be met
  • Key information about the company visited
  • History of relations with your company (speak to customer service also)

To investigate the opportunity to acquire a company                 

  • Summary of activities and split by product and region
  • Financial information
  • List of customers
  • Strengths and weaknesses assessment
  • Estimate of company value based on previous offers and own analysis

To build awareness internally about a competitor                 

  • Description of activities
  • Business system
  • Prices
  • Bidding policies

To understand opportunity for partnership                 

  • Markets by product and region
  • Profile of key management and background
  • Historic behavior of management
  • Example of existing partnerships
  • Analysis of synergies or overlaps

To assess viability of a supplier                 

  • Credit rating
  • Profile of key people and background
  • Historic of relation with customers
  • Product benchmarking

Once you have defined the elements you want to include, be very specific about the level of detail of the information needed. For example;

  • If you are showing financial numbers, how many years back do you want to go?
  • If you are using market size numbers, what currency will you use?

A few tips: every time you can, add insight:

  • “What does it mean for our company” section
  • Cheat: if you need general financial numbers or rations, use ratios that might already be calculated in your sources of information, you’ll save time
  • Benchmark: compare information about the company with your own company, or with industry average

What format is most appropriate?

One principle: have an executive summary or an index, and add the background information or back-up separately.

Be creative when you decide which format to use for your profile. it does not have to be a paper document. These are some of the formats that are mostly used:

Paper or text document using Word with hyperlinks to sites on the Internet

By creating a company profile and considering the different scenarios your business profile could be utilized will help to position your company positively in the eyes of those interested in your business and services.

10 Steps to Building Your Business Profile

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A business profile is essential for companies of all sizes. Besides giving information to customers, it can be used in many other ways; it can be used to seek out investors or potential employees and to provide general information to the media. It’s important for a business profile to not only give factual information, but to add some personality and establish the tone and style of the company. Finding a voice that is interesting and engaging is the most important thing to consider when learning how to write a business profile. Below are some tips to help you get started.

Step 1: Study some other business profiles, particularly competitors and other companies in the same type of business. Note the style and tone of the ones that stand out to learn how to write a business profile that is interesting and draws attention.

Step 2: Write out some characteristics of your company that make it stand out from others. Include your purpose, mission, history and other important factors that define the nature of your company. Your business profile should convey the style and personality of your company, and this list will help to set the tone of the writing.

Step 3: Think about what kind of industry the company is in and its history or other important features. This, along with the characteristics list, will be used to define the style of writing and the message to be conveyed. For example, the profile for an edgy new company will differ in style than one for a company’s main strength is a long history. Industries such as personal care or boutique items should have profiles that suggest luxury, while high tech company profiles would emphasize technical skills and growth

Step 4: Write your company description that includes the products and services it offers, a brief history and its market sector. Include any facts or features that make your company stand out, such as a time when the company overcame obstacles or came back from a crisis.

Step 5: Keep the tone and style in mind when writing the description. Use layman’s terms rather than technical jargon, so that people outside the industry–like the media and prospective customers–can easily decipher and use the information.

Step 6: Add the company address. For online purposes, make sure the address maps well in online systems such as Mapquest and Google maps. Include full addresses and accurate contact information.

Step 7: List information about working for the company, such as number of employees and key personnel. Add biographies of founders, presidents and other important personnel.

Step 8: Tailor the profile to work with the venue it is being used in. Some online directories have a specific format to list information. Some local directories only allow space for a limited amount of information. When writing for these, make sure the location and contact information is correct, and choose a few important key features to include in the company profile.

Step 9: Add some keywords related to the industry when writing a business profile for an Internet website. Use words and phrases that people would search for when buying products from the company.

Step 10: Spread the word. Find as many places as you can (that are appropriate of course) to post your business profile.

The more places your profile is online, the better chance your customers will come across it. Be sure to place your profile in forums that are pertinent to your industry to tie your company name to that industry.

Build Trust – Commit To Your Brand

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Build Trust by committing to your brand…

Repetition – Authenticity – Consistency

In order to create a culture of Buzz around your brand through business profiles you must first build trust.  Build on trust as trust reduces fear.  It’s an emotional quality that can be achieved  by focusing on displaying three key values;

  • Repetition = Maintain regular communication through marketing channels and campaigns.
  • Authenticity = Keep promises but don’t over promise. Do what you say and display how your business owns up to mistakes and corrects them. This will also show your business’s integrity.
  • Consistency = Display uniformity within messaging through your streams of communication.

Focus on these emotional values of your business  and let logic play it’s natural roll, as discussed by marketing guru Tony Fannin on Inside Indian Business.

Remember, trust is powerful and can be extended in the form of referrals.

A Culture Of Buzz Through Business Profiles

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Business profiles are a great opportunity to expand your brand awareness.

These searchable online profiles are a must for any business competing in today’s market making sure your business is fully represented.

French author, Francois de La Rochefoucauld once said. “It is not enough to have great qualities; We should also have the management of them.”

Relationships between businesses are built through trust from multiple points of contact. Client Touch-points should focus on who and what your business is as well as how your business works. Treat your profile as a Sales Presentation.

Connect through information such as social media links, video, a company bio, product image and client testimonials.  It’s important to use expert content to communicate a clear message of  “the what and how” of your business. Create a way for potential clients to sample your products or services.

Create a Culture of Buzz using business profiles through…

  • Content
  • Context
  • Connections
  • Community Building

Other ways your business can build Buzz are through Blogs, Sponsorship and Advertising.

Meet Blaze Communications

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BizCardBlazeComSm

Company: 

Blaze Communications

Cool Marketing. Hot Branding.

Website: www.BlazeCom.info

Twitter: @BeSTforum

Tell us about your company:  

Blaze Communications (BlazeCom) is a branding strategy and training consulting company focused on helping business owners write marketing plans and sales systems that when implemented yield stable revenue and greater profitability.  Defining brand as all processes and marketing methods utilized to create a customer ‘s experience,  BlazeCom helps business owners develop appropriate & differentiating on-line & off-line marketing messaging and materials engaging and converting more clients.   BlazeCom strategic sales systems and Client Appreciation Programs gain business and earn referrals. 

Who is a perfect customer/client for your company?

Professional service business owners and independent contractor sales professionals who do not have a written marketing plan for INCREASING sales and EARNING raving repeat referrals from satisfied clients.  Professionals who desire help in value-engineering of practical processes to build business and generate revenue. 

Who is your ideal referral partner?

Savvy professionals who understand that brand is more than providing quality products or services.  As only part of a solid business strategy, growing businesses requires consistent implementation of specific sales strategy and marketing methods to achieve an authority, credibility & trust status in the prospect’s mind and customer’s experience. 

Share a testimony about your company:

The real genius at Blaze Communications is the owner Blake.  Having been in business a very long time, what I see is a young man whose greatest strength is business strategy.  It’s rare to see someone come up with a plan, solution and implementation so quickly.  You can trust Blake with any information.  Nothing phases him and he always has a positive suggestion of how to tackle any problem.  As an old guy, what I value most about Blake is his fierce loyalty and ability to keep confidences, which is rare to find in this social media driven world.

—Will Albert, Lightening Bug Transport

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